May OWLs are hooting good!

It’s nearly the end of the month, so naturally, your thoughts turn to what to do next to further your writing.  May I suggest one of our May OWLs?

This month both OWLs are beckoning you to the dark side: Rachel Bailey will help you wrestle the Black Moment of your story into shape and Ainslie Paton will shed light on the Dark Art of the Blurb.  Pick the darkness that most needs attention – or just do both!

For more info and to register for The Black Moment, click here.

For more info and to register for The Dark Art of the Blurb, click here.

 

Covers that we love!

As writers, we pour our hearts into choosing just the right words to tell our stories – but to put a finished book into the reader’s hands, we need to rely on others’ skills.  Chief among these others is the cover designer.  A good cover can entice a reader and add to the pleasure of the story – and the best ones thrill authors!  Each year, to celebrate the blessings of the cover fairies, our published members submit their favourite recent covers for fellow members to choose the ones they like most.

The contest is over for another year, so without further ado, here are our favourite covers for this year, as judged by our members in the following categories:

Contemporary Romance:

  • Title: Operation White Christmas
  • Author: Nicki Edwards
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

Operation White Christmas-Nicki Edwards

 

Erotic/Sexy Romance

  • Title: The Veiled Heart
  • Author: Elsa Holland
  • Cover Design: Hang Le

The Veiled Heart-Elsa Holland

 

Historical Romance

  • Title: The King’s Man
  • Author: Alison Stuart
  • Cover Design: Escape Publishing

The King's Man Alison Stuart

 

New Adult/Young Adult Romance

  • Title: The Finn Factor
  • Author: Rachel Bailey
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

The Finn Factor-Rachel Bailey

 

Paranormal Romance (includes Fantasy and Sci-fi)

  • Title: The Shattered Court
  • Author: M.J. Scott
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

The Shattered Court-M.J. Scott

 

Romantic Elements

  • Title: Pretty Famous
  • Author: Carla Caruso
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

Pretty Famous-Carla Caruso

 

Romantic Suspense

  • Title: Storm Clouds
  • Author: Bronwyn Parry
  • Cover Design: Hannah Janzen

Storm Clouds-Bronwyn Parry

 

Rural Romance

  • Title: Summer and the Groomsman
  • Author: Cathryn Hein
  • Cover Design: Kellie Dennis, Book Cover by Design

Summer and the Groomsman-Cathryn Hein

Thanks to everyone who entered and judged, to our co-ordinator and back-of-house organisers (Claire and Kerrie particularly) and to the cover fairies!

Romance Rocks Presents…

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On Saturday 9th August on Track E, Session 1, Jenn J McLeod shares Small Town Twists and Secrets.

We’ve heard it said: “There are no new plots, just twists on well-loved tropes.” So, what can a writer do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot to make their small town secrets story a standout? With this in mind, I set out to study what makes the marriage of small towns and secrets so popular with readers (and therefore publishers). In 2010 I built a brand around small towns and finished my first novel about small towns keeping big secrets.

Your Presenter – Jenn J McLeod

Extraordinarily ordinary #countrypubdweller who (somehow) secured a four-book contract with Simon & Schuster!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? jennjmcleod_fence_web
I delivered a small version of Small Town Secrets at the 2013 Bellingen Writers Festival.
I love sharing what I’ve learned with others and this topic is very close to my heart. For me, stories about small towns and secrets are like wine and crackers – they go down so well together! Add a book and it’s happy hour heaven for me. Like wine, there are ways to infuse your story with secrets and, like your favourite mixer, adding a twist can make the experience just perfect. Developing my “small town secrets” platform was integral to securing my contract.

What will participants take away from this session?
Learn the secret to a good secret, the ways to use secrets in fiction, and what a writer can do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot by exploring:
• What makes small town stories thrive and what makes them die.
• The importance of authenticity.
• The secret to a good secret and ways to use secrets in fiction.

Which members will benefit most from this session?
Primarily focused on aspiring authors who want to avoid small town traps and clichés when plotting/writing, the information will be relevant to other writers. IMPORTANTLY: my use of the term ‘Small town’ is not solely for the remote and dusty setting. This session will be just as relevant for any fictional group dynamic (eg the small community on the coast, the sleepy out of the way town that sits quietly on a lazy river, a city suburb, or a crammed cul-de-sac. Think Wisteria Lane!)

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?
The hugs, the buzz, the chaos of catch-ups with old and new online friends (and realising none of us look like our profile pictures!) But this year? Being a ridgy-didge author and attending the book signing alongside my peers.

Any advice for conference first-timers? Simmering-Season-Jenn-J-McLeod-lge-195x300
I know most people are busy preparing for their ‘elevator pitch’. Well, one must also be prepared for the ‘elevator hug’. (That moment you step inside the lift and discover the person you are sharing the space with is someone you’ve been dying to meet.) My first conference, first elevator hug experience, was Melbourne 2011. Right, Helene Young? *wink*

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?
Simmering Season – The prefect storm is heading Maggie Lindeman’s way and it will blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets. Visit www.jennjmcleod.com to find out more about my Seasons Collection of four books, to be released by Simon & Schuster.

More Session Info:

  • Beverly Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times

Follow a day in the life of a Lady, exploring the cloth she uses for sleeping, bathing, dining and furnishings, and the layers of clothing and dressing procedures at different stages of her day. Take your historical detail to the next level with authors Beverley Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – also costume and textile historians – as they uncover some little known facts about cloth and clothing in the Georgian era. Dressed in costumes of the period, they’ll explore the Lady’s Wardrobe to reveal the many layers of clothing required by the fashionable lady, and also discuss the Linen Room and other textiles of the townhouse and castle.

  • Rachel Bailey – Conflict: The Key To Your Romance NovelRachelBailey_CounteringHisClaim

The workshop will focus on the creation of strong, believable internal and external conflict between romance heroes and heroines, maintaining that conflict through layering, reinforcing and deepening, then resolving the conflict believably without either character losing or being anti-climactic. Examples will be analyzed from both books and movies and broken down into elements that will be easy to apply in participants’ own work.Create, maintain and resolve the internal and external conflict in your romance novel.

  • Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden: It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices

Learn to write loves scenes that readers just can’t skim. A good love scene should be about more than Tab A into Slot B, or there purely for titillation’s sake. It should be integral to the romance, changing the way the characters interact with each other, complicating the plot and deepening the conflict. It should be a scene that you can’t remove from the book without losing the character’s emotional arc, just as you can’t interchange it with another. Like a support beam in a house, it should hold up the structure and if removed would cause the whole thing to fall down.

  • Christina Brooke – All About Character

Make your characters memorable using techniques every writer should know. Romance novels are all about character and how the hero and heroine interact, grow and change through falling in love. Create wonderful characters and you’re more than half way to writing a fantastic romance that editors and readers want to buy. Join Christina Brooke as she analyzes what makes great romance characters and provides practical exercises to make your characters stronger and more memorable.

  • Professor Karl Roberts – Psychological Warfare

Stalking, psychopathy, domestic violence – learn about the traits and quirks of the darker personalities, and how they can be caught.

Missed any Conference info? Check the RWA Website for more:

http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/183

 

 

Author Spotlight: Rachel Bailey…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Rachel, and congratulations on the release of ‘Countering His Claim’.

Thanks so much for having me!

CHC 

This is your eighth book in four years! Do you have any tips for those who struggle with time management or motivation?(Especially considering that you were also the RWA President for a large chunk of this time period.)

Deadlines. They miracle motivators. 😉 If you don’t have a deadline with a publisher, then create a deadline for yourself. Contest deadlines are great for this, but you can also set a deadline with your critique partner, maybe to send them a chapter by the end of the week. Or set up a reporting in group – three or four people who report in on their progress, so you know you’ll be kept accountable. 

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Finish the damn book. It’s an oldie but a goodie. 

You write for Harlequin Desire, is there another genre you’ve ever considered writing for?

Before I was published I wrote a single title romantic comedy that won the Valerie Parv Award. I think about revisiting rom-com sometimes, but I’m sticking with Desire for the moment. 

We know that you are a Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice fan. Which screen version is your favourite and why?

The Colin Firth / Jennifer Ehle version, no question. Partly because it was a mini-series so it had room for more of the plot, but also because they’re faithful to the book, and the actors – particularly the two leads – are so perfectly cast. Though I must admit a soft spot for Bride & Prejudice (the Bollywood adaptation) and the 1940s version with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson (which is heaps of fun as long as you accept that it’s not faithful to the book – there are Victorian era costumes and a change of heart for Lady Catherine at the end).

RachelBailey

You have a degree in Psychology. Has that come in handy when creating your characters?

I think all our experiences of people and situations and our previous study come together in the subconscious when we’re creating characters and stories. It’s hard to know what exactly influences specific examples, but I do think the more life experience and the more subject / topics you’ve studied (formally or informally from personal interest) the better for that creative space in the subconscious. 

Of all the characters you’ve created, which one do you have the biggest soft spot for and why?

I definitely had a soft spot for Della from Countering His Claim after I put her through the worst backstory I’ve given a character – when she and her husband were attacked by a group of men, her husband was killed before her eyes and she was left for dead. Once she woke she had horrible physical and emotional scars. I still feel bad that I gave her such an awful time! I also have a soft spot for her hero Luke who is so patient and giving when he finds out what happened to her. 

Can you talk us through a normal writing day for you?

A normal writing day consists of popcorn and trying not to get distracted by the internet. I also try to fit meeting my daily word count goal in there. I keep close touch with my circle of writing friends who keep me motivated, so there’s always some contact with at least a couple of them in a day – I can’t imagine the journey without writing friends. 

What’s it like being a USA Today bestselling author?

Having a tag like that is great to put on my website, and it was certainly a good reason to open a bottle of bubbly the day it happened, but I don’t know that it affects a career as much as some might think. You’re only as good as your last book, or, for the publisher, as good as your last book’s sales. Having said that, I’m still pleased to have it.  

NSTSAust

What are the essential ingredients of a successful romance novel?

There are the basics – a heroine we can sympathize with and cheer for, a hero we can fall in love with, a journey of emotional growth for both protagonists, some lovely sexual tension, and an emotionally satisfying ending. Learning and improving your writing craft will help you achieve this (was it Emma Darcy who said if you think you’ve got nothing left to learn then it’s time to get out of the business?).

But to be truly successful, there’s always an X-factor, that something extra that truly lifts it above others. For some books that’s the voice, for others it’s the startlingly original premise, the intensity between the characters, or the fast moving action that keeps the reader turning the page. Of course, that “something extra” can be difficult to create! 

Could you give us a sneak peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Countering His Claim’, please?

I’d love to. This is from chapter one, where Luke and Della have just met – the ship’s captain has asked Dr Della Walsh to look at a cut on Luke’s hand. It’s the first time Della has a glimpse at the type of man she’ll be spending a lot of time with in the near future. 

They arrived at the medical suite and Della stopped at the reception desk just inside the door to speak to the duty nurse. “Jody, is Dr. Bateman in?”

Something about Luke Marlow affected her. Perhaps it was his power over her future as her boss. Or the strange magnetism he had as a man. Or simply her unsettled nerves about the reading of Patrick’s will in an hour and the accompanying sharp reminder of her friend’s death only twelve days ago. Regardless, she knew if she didn’t feel 100 percent comfortable, it would be more appropriate to hand him to a colleague for treatment.

Hearing his name, Cal Bateman stepped into the reception room and Della’s shoulders loosened in relief.

“Cal, Mr. Marlow might need some sutures in his hand.” She turned to their patient. “Dr. Bateman will take care of you.”

But when she turned to go, Luke’s smooth, deep voice stopped her. “No.”

Her heart skipped a beat and she swiveled slowly back around. “Pardon?”

Luke stood facing her, dominating the room with his height and presence, his expression neither stern nor encouraging. “If I need stitches, I’d like you to handle them, Dr. Walsh.”

Puzzled, she looked at him. Why should it matter to him which doctor he saw? “I assure you, Dr. Bateman’s surgical skills are second to none. He did some advanced training in plastic surgery, so he’ll leave less of a scar than I would.”

“I don’t mind a scar,” Luke said, unconcerned. “I want you, Dr. Walsh.”

Her chest tightened. Was he flirting with her? No man had tried since…her husband. She deliberately cultivated an unapproachable aura to prevent it. Though, Luke Marlow didn’t seem the sort of man who bothered taking notice of such things.

 

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Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Rachel Bailey

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Rachel Bailey who will be presenting the workshop SEXUAL TENSION: The Undertow of Romance.

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Bio

RachelBaileyAfter selling to Harlequin Desire in 2008, Rachel Bailey’s first three books were released in 2010, and all three became USA Today bestsellers, with one winning a Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award. Rachel is a past president of Romance Writers of Australia, and has run writing workshops and been on various author panels. She lives on the Sunshine Coast with four dogs and her hero, and is always trying to scam more time to sit on the verandah and read. You can visit her at www.rachelbailey.com

 

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

An ex-social worker who writes for Harlequin Desire.

 

What will participants take away from this session?

The session will be about creating the sexual tension between your main characters. Not just attraction, but the tension that exists between the attraction and the conflicts. We’ll talk about what that is, and strategies to bring that to life in your work.

 

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

There will be several hands-on exercises and it would be great if people brought along one of their scenes that might need a little more sexual tension. I might ask for a couple of brave volunteers to share their work with the group, but I promise not to call on anyone without their hand up. *grin* There will be heaps of examples from my work and other published books, so even if you don’t bring something along, there will be lots of of opportunities to see the principles in action.

 

Which members will benefit most from this session?

This session will be useful for anyone who would like to increase the sexual tension in their writing, no matter what level they feel they’re at. Concepts will be explained in ways that beginning writers will be able to access, but more advanced concepts will be explored as well.

 

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?

I love catching up in person with friends – all those little snatched conversations, the mingling at social events, and meeting new friends. I always come away from an RWA conference with new friends. I also love learning new things about writing – a new technique or perspective can totally reinvigorate my writing.


What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

NoStrangerScandalAustSmallMy book, No Stranger To Scandal was originally out in Australia in April, but will be rereleased in June along with the other books in the Daughters of Power series. The blurb:

She might be the stepdaughter of one of the most powerful media moguls in Washington, but Lucy Royall is no pampered princess—she’s making her own way as a junior reporter. But when congressional investigator Hayden Black accuses her stepfather of criminal wrongdoing, she shows her family loyalty and takes Hayden on. Then, as things heat up, the sexy single dad takes her to bed! Talk about a conflict of interest. Will their illicit passion turn into something more lasting, even in the face of controversy so huge it rocks a nation?

Information about my books and other random things are at my website: www.rachelbailey.com

 
Finally, we are so delighted you’re visiting us in Western Australia. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing or doing while you’re here? 

After the conference, I’ll be going on a W.A. writing retreat with a group of friends. I’ve never been to W.A. before, so I can’t wait to see the sights while I’m there!

 

~~~

Thank you, Rachel!

Conference Spotlight ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Road panel

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.


At Diamonds Are Forever,  Kylie Griffin is moderating a panel aimed at BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE writers called  FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: The Journey to Publication. 


WORKSHOP BLURB:

A panel of multi-published authors in a range of genres guide you along the frequently confusing journey to publication. Participants will receive a package of resource notes, understand the range of RWA services/resources available, comprehend the difference between category & single title, discuss issues involving target markets, contests, query letters & submissions, the publishing process, finding an agent, contracts, pitching and be able to plan & research information about agents & editors.



Follow the Yellow Brick Road  panelists

After selling to Harlequin Desire in 2008, Rachel Bailey’s first three books were released in 2010 (all three became USA Today bestsellers), and her seventh book will be released soon after the conference. In a previous life she was a social worker, working mainly in youth work and hospital social work. She lives on the Sunshine Coast with four dogs and her hero, and is always trying to scam more time to sit on the verandah and read. Visit her at www.rachelbailey.com


Anna Campbell has written six multi award-winning historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in eleven languages. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (twice), the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (three times). Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and twice for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. Visit her at www.annacampbell.info


Kylie Griffin’s addiction to all things paranormal started at an early age when she imagined the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship or castle tower used to defend the world from hordes of invading enemies. Writing stories seemed like a natural extension. She’s a primary teacher who volunteers as a fire fighter, ambulance officer and member of the NSW SES. An addicted contest diva & winner of an RWA 2010 Golden Heart, Kylie’s debut novel, Vengeance Born released in Feb.2012. Her latest book in the Light Bladeseries, Alliance Forged, will come out in July. Visit her at www.kyliegriffin.com


Paula Roe is a bestselling, multi-published author with over a quarter of a million books sold world-wide. Her articles have appeared in writing journals, blogs and hard copy and she is a frequent speaker at conferences and local writing groups. Before publication, Paula’s writing won and placed in various contests, including Wisconsin Romance Writers Fabulous Five Silver Quill, Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter, Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Award and the Valerie Parv Award. When she’s not writing, she’s designing websites, conducting workshops and tutorials, cooking or building Lego. Visit her at www.paularoe.com


When Denise Rossetti was very small, she had an aunt who would tell her the most wonderful fairy tales – all original. Denise grew up, as little girls do, but the magic of story still dazzles and enthralls her. On the good days, she likes to think of herself as Scheherazade’s sister. On the bad days – not so much. A two-time winner of Romance Writers of America Passionate Plume Award, Denise’s work has been described as “darkly intense, warmly romantic, and blazingly erotic”. She is published with Berkley Ace, Berkley Sensation, Ellora’s Cave and Avon Red. Visit her at www.deniserossetti.com




Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Five Aussie authors – new to multi-published – sharing knowledge about the journey to publication.


What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?

We saw a need among our newbie members and new authors for a sharing of knowledge about resources available to RWA members, where to find information about the industry/agents/editors, what to expect and the steps involved in the publishing process.


What can participants expect from this session?

A wealth of information, a few entertaining/interesting/embarrassing tales, more information, laughter, wisdom from contest divas, oh, and did I mention helpful information?

Being an author panel, participants are encouraged to ask any question they like about publishing, but some of the topics covered by this session may include:

*understand the range of RWA services/resources that are available to members

*comprehend the difference between category & single title

*discuss issues of concern involving target markets, contests, query letters & submissions, the publishing process, finding an agent, contracts, pitching etc.

*be able to plan & research information about agents & editors more effectively

*have a greater awareness of –

  • how to research agents/publishing houses
  • the processes/pitfalls involved in the publishing industry
  • the stages involved in publishing a book
  • the responsibilities of an author in the publishing process
  • the relationship between an author and/or agent/editor
  • the content of a contract

There will be a handout with information with useful websites and various other links, recommended resources/books, a list of RWA services available to members etc. Something members can pin on their notice boards or have handy by their keyboards for quick reference.


 

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

There will be the chance to ask questions about everything to do with the process of writing & getting published – the good, the bad & the ugly.

Take advantage of us – we don’t mind (*smile*) , we love to share our experiences and pass along what we’ve learned!

So, bring along a list – there’s no such thing as a silly question, just the one you don’t ask and should!



Which members will benefit most from this session?

All levels of writers welcome, but particularly those new to RWA, new to conferences, or new to publishing!



Any advice for conference first-timers?

You may experience brain overload by the end of the conference – don’t worry this is normal. There aren’t any strangers at conference, just friends you haven’t met yet. You get out of conference what you put into it. Bring an extra bag for all the books and conference goodies you’re going to be taking home with you!

Enjoy the experience!



What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

WHAT HAPPENS IN CHARLESTON – Rachel Bailey (March 2012, HMB Desire) – www.rachelbailey.com

THE COURTESAN COLLECTION – (e-bundle of three books-in-one, includes CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, TEMPT THE DEVIL and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER) – Anna Campbell (De.2011, Avon) – http://www.annacampbell.info

ALLIANCE FORGED – Kylie Griffin (July 3rd 2012, Berkley Sensation) – www.kyliegriffin.com

BED OF LIES – Paula Roe (March 2012 HMB Desire) – http://www.paularoe.com

GUILTY AS SIN – Denise Rossetti (2011, Ellora’s Cave) – http://www.deniserossetti.com

 

Thank you, Kylie, Rachel, Anna, Paula and Denise.


~~~

Our next Conference Spotlight is with Ally Blake on 13th March.


Blog Bites…Rachel Bailey

Introducing Queenslander, dog lover and RWA President, Rachel Bailey.

I write: for Harlequin Desire.

Three words to describe me: Introverted, dog lover, easily distracted.

 At home I cook: Pavlova and anything with chocolate.

It’s a bit daggy but I love: Elvis Presley.

My first job was: Tutoring maths.

Saving for: A trip to Anaheim for the RWAmerica conference this year.

I procrastinate by: Volunteering for RWA.

Three things people might not know about me are:  I can’t tell my left from my right; the walls of my office are one of my favourite colours – a pale lavender-brown; I’m a vegetarian.

Favourite author: A tie between Jenny Crusie and Jane Austen.

Current reading: The Secretary’s Secret by Michelle Douglas.

Favourite book as a child: Any book that had a dog in it.

Plotter or panster: Plotter.

Latest project: A Desire set on a cruise ship.

Thank you for joining us today Rachel, it has been a true pleasure.

Rachel has kindly offered a giveaway of her new release ‘What Happens In Charleston…’ to a lucky person who leaves a comment before Saturday 25th 8:30EDST.

Good luck and if you would like to know more about Rachel and her books, go to her website http://rachelbailey.com/

RWA members can take a bite. Contact Kerri Williams to schedule your Blog Bite feature on blogbites@romanceaustralia.com

A Day in the Writing Life of … Rachel Bailey

Welcome, Rachel, and thank you for sharing a day in your writing life.

Where do you write?

I have a writing room, filled with bookcases and an old dining table that I use as a desk. The windows overlook trees that are often filled with birds – incredibly beautiful. I use a laptop with no internet connection, so once I’m in that room, I can’t check emails or browse the web.

What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?

Turn on my iPod to play the soundtrack of the book I’m working on. The songs might be thematically linked, or evoke the mood I’m after. Since I play the same 30 or so songs over and over, they become like background music to me – I stop listening to the words and simply fall into the tone of that story. It also works as a cue – if I need to flick between stories because I’m revising an earlier one, or plotting a future one, the soundtrack clues in my subconscious and I’m immediately back immersed in that book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I need to submit a synopsis to my editor, so I always plot to start with. Then I generally know what happens in each quarter of the book and I write a quarter at a time – I usually have one quarter out with CPs, then I polish it, while I’m writing raw words on the next quarter. I even keep the book in 4 documents (chaps 1-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12) until towards the end. It helps me keep the rhythm and pace of the story even.

What writing tools do you favour?

I write my raw words on my laptop then print out a double spaced chapter and flesh it out with handwritten notes on the printed page. Then I enter the changes on my laptop and tweak some more, then print it again and grab my red pen to edit. Repeat ad infinitum. It’s a slow process, but it works for me.

Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help your creativity?

I always have a collage, with pictures that inspire the characters, colours, settings, motifs, etc. For example, for my latest book, Return of the Secret Heir, the collage (pictured left/right?) has pictures of actors who look like JT and Pia, baby booties because they lost a baby when they were teenagers, photos of New York, where the story takes place.

 I use the collage-making time at the start as part of my dreaming time, where I flesh out the characters and their story, but I also use it when I’m writing the book. Eg, when I’m wondering what my hero might say, I look at his face and I can hear his voice in my head. It’s also a place to let my eye wander when I’ve paused, and get extra inspiration.

 Can you name five objects that area always on or near your work desk while you write?

  • water
  • writing chocolate
  • various dogs (under the desk, behind my chair, sprawled in the doorway)
  • dog chocolate
  • a stack of in-trays filled with stuff related to the current book

 www.rachelbailey.com
Return of the Secret Heir, Silhouette Desire, Oct 11
What Happens In Charleston…, Silhouette Desire, Feb 12
http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Rachel and all the best for your new release.

October Hearts Talk Wrap Up

The latest edition of Hearts Talk is out now.

Our monthly member-only magazine has the latest news and information for writers.

Here is a little peek….


Hearts Talk chats with Urban Fantasy Author, J.F. Lewis

J.F. (Jeremy) Lewis is the author of The Void City series published by Pocket. In a genre known for fast-talking take-no-prisoner-heroines, his jaded, witty, centre stage male character and use of multiple first person POVs are just a few of the bold choices he’s made during his writing career to date.

Q: How did you come to write Urban Fantasy? You mention on your website that you have other projects underway—are these UF or something different?

A: When I started writing Staked (then called “Welcome to the Void”) I didn’t know there was such a genre as Urban Fantasy, I thought it either Fantasy or Horror, that I was writing a vampire book. I’d been trying to sell some more ‘all audiences’ friendly fiction, but no one seemed particularly interested, so I thought: okay, I do have a vampire story I’d like to tell… and I wrote Staked.

For full article, go to our website. For members only.


5Day Intensive 2011: Report by Jodie Morphett

From the 9th of July to the 15th of July 2012, twelve ladies arrived at Griffith University at Mt Gravatt in Queensland, excited and nervous and ready to commence a five day intensive workshop where their only focus was their writing. Families and work were left behind and under the mentorship of the wonderful and talented Sophia James and Marion Lennox, the ladies were put through their paces.

They were divided into two groups: Category, led by Marion, and Historical/Single Title, led by Sophia. Over the course of five days and under the guidance of their mentors, these brave women pulled apart, rewrote and polished their manuscripts to the exclusion of all else.

For full article, go to our website. For members only.


Online Opportunities with Doreen Sullivan

Author Trish Morey believes “Writing is an occupation where you never stop learning, whatever stage of this crazy profession you’re at.”

Many RWA members find their learning communities online, through classes, critiquing and contests. Here, some of our RWA writers at various stages of their writing careers discuss how they lived and learned online.


For full article, go to our website. For members only.


Conference Bonus

HeartsTalk caught up with some of our international guests at the conference in Melbourne last month, and asked them to share their conference impressions & their tips for writing for publication with RWA members.

International guests: Kelley Armstrong, Angela James, Bob Mayer, Kristin Nelson

For full article, go to our website. For members only.




Contest Judging: What’s in it for you? by Beverley Eikli

You may have entered one of RWA’s contests to get feedback, as much as the chance that making the final can be a fast-track to an editor or agent’s desk. But have you considered the benefits of judging?

I’m not qualified

The ‘ I’m not qualified’ response is one of the misconceptions many people have when it comes to judging. As Harlequin Romance author Trish Morey wrote in an earlier article on the benefits of judging, “Do you write romance? Do you read romance? Then you’re qualified. You don’t have to be published.”

But I don’t read Sexy/Fantasy/Historical/Whatever

When you volunteer to judge you can nominate the type or entry you like to read and the excellent RWA score sheets make the process easy.

For full article, go to our website. For members only.

RWA Noticeboard

Members Assistance Fund

Many of our members, due to their location or other circumstances, can’t afford to attend RWA events such as conference, 5DI and roadshows. Each year RWA’s Members Assistance Fund is used to help several such members. You can help by contributing to the fund.


Conference 2012: Diamonds Are Forever

Mark the 16-19th August 2012 in your calendar for the RWA conference on the Gold Coast.

For full notices, go to our website. For members only.



Of course don’t forget our regular columns:

  • From the Prez with Rachel Bailey – >Rachel’s first column as president
  • Events Calendar with Doreen Sullivan
  • Contest Page with Lis Hoorweg > Featuring The Emerald Award
  • News and Releases with Bronwyn Stuart
  • Market Watch with Sami Lee
  • The Last Word with Jo McAlister
  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

>from Angsty in Australia

For full columns, go to our website. For members only.

Enjoy!


Not a member? Please view our sample issue from January 2011.

To receive our wonderful monthly newsletter, we invite you to Join RWA for all the details.


Face-2-Face with…LoveCatsDownunder

At the RWA we like to embrace and support all our members in whatever way we can and with technology being such an integeral part of the way we all operate in today’s modern world we thought it was high time we started to get Face-2-Face with some of the RWA’s online groups.

Yes, there’s not doubt about it. Find a group of like-minded  romance writers and they’ll find a way to meet, share, learn and grow together even when distance seperates them. If you haven’t already then perhaps our latest series of F2F posts (look out for them on the first Wednesday of the moth) will inspire you to become part of an online group yourself.

Group Name: LoveCats Downunder

Area/Region: We’re Australian and New Zealand authors, hailing from places including Canberra to Perth, Christchurch, Mahau and the Sunshine Coast.

Members:  Natalie Anderson, Sharon Archer, Leah Ashton, Rachel Bailey, Zana Bell, Robyn Grady, Anna Hackett, Soraya Lane, Sue Mackay, Emily May, Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Nikki Logan.

Genre: We write category romance in a broad range of lines and genres including Medical, Desire, Historicals, Romance/Sweet, Nocturne Bites, Riva, Sexy, Super Romance and Spice Briefs.

How did we start?

Sharon: “How about… we start a blog for new Harlequin category authors?” I picture Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan nurturing this idea over a fancy cocktail at the Langham Hotel but the truth is they did it in a brainstorming session on instant messaging on opposite coasts of Australia.

They floated the concept to Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Emily May, Zana Bell and me, Sharon Archer – we were all for it. We were on a roll, setting up a loop to make our discussions easier.

Title ideas got batted around. We wanted something fun – an umbrella for all of us

with our variety of lines. We wanted “cats” since we’re “category” writers and all those delicious “cat” words and puns begged to be used! And we wanted something that located us.

LoveCatsDownUnder! We launched ourselves into the blogosphere in mid-January 2010 with a week-long party. Since then we’ve added more wonderful Cats:  Anna Hackett, Michelle Douglas, Sue Mackay, Natalie Anderson, Soraya Lane and Robyn Grady, and Leah Ashton.

How do we work?

Emily: We share the jobs on the LoveCats blog. Sharon Archer is in charge of our calendar (we call her Roster Cat) and Mel Teshco is our promo cat, posting our weekly schedule on the Romaus loop and to the RWA Cruisin’ the Blogs coordinator. Nikki Logan uploads our new covers and designed the original blog. Tracie Sommers put together our Facebook page. Rachel Bailey started the Sunday Smooches — where we showcase a kiss from a recent release and have a giveaway — and Robyn Grady and I (Emily May) now run the smooches between us. We’re lucky to have a programmer (Tracie Sommers) and a web designer (Leah Ashton) on the team, and they’re currently discussing our new look.

The more technologically savvy people have been great hand-holders for those of us who find it more challenging. I am forever indebted to Sharon for the wonderful step-by-step guide she wrote on how to post a blog and upload photos!

Why I joined?

Sue: I joined the Lovecats as they’re a lively, professional and fun group of authors determined to get known out in the wider world of books. Everyone has something to offer and a variety of romance subgenres is represented. For me having minimal computer knowledge belonging to a group is a distinct advantage too.

Why we like it?

Zana: The best thing about being a LoveCat is always having like-minded women with whom to celebrate and commiserate.  We’ve been together through floods, earthquakes, births, marriages, sickness and, of course the writing of books! In the uncertain world of publishing, it’s wonderful to have a group where we can seek help and ask questions. We’ve pooled knowledge, shared experiences and brainstormed solutions for a myriad of situations and there’s nothing like a bit of cyber support when you don’t know where else to turn.

Extra Curricular Activities?

Tracie: LoveCats love pressies. Apart from having prizes and giveaways on the blog, the LoveCat members have donated prize packs to several charity fundraisers including the Silent Auctions held at the annual RWA conferences and additional fundraisers such as the Australian Romance Reader’s Convention fundraiser for flood and cyclone affected Queenslander’s earlier this year. The other thing the LoveCats love to do is cheer each other on. Last year we had three Ruby finalists Cats: Sharon, Tracie and Robyn, and this year we have a different three we’ll be cheering on at the Awards Night: Emily, Michelle and Natalie.

What have you learned that others might be interested in?

Robyn: Writing can be a lonely occupation. Joining with other like-minded people creates positives all over the place! You share good news, as well as those not-so-happy moments I call ‘thunks’. When you’re stuck, there’s always someone to bounce off and, of course, you reap satisfaction returning the favour. Valuable information is circulated, appreciated, and hopefully passed on further afield. Best of all, friendships are made…bonds that will serve you well on so many levels, in so many ways.

If you have any questions about LoveCatsDownunder or are interested in becoming a member then please contact Rachel, Nikki and the other wonderful Cats ladies via their blog http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com/

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